Archive for the ‘democracy’ Category

The Impending Death of Internet Freedom and Personal Privacy: Hallowe’en Edition

October 31, 2011

Image by wwarby via Flickr

Just in time for Hallowe’en, here are some scary tales about the impending death of internet freedom and personal privacy: (more…)

Fergal F. Davis on “Lord Neuberger and the Diceyean Bushel”

June 13, 2011

Fergal F. Davis (ARC Laureate Fellowship: Anti-terror laws & the democratic challenge; University of New South Wales (UNSW)) has posted “Lord Neuberger and the Diceyean Bushel” . The abstract reads:

On 6 April 2011, Lord Neuberger, the Master of the Rolls, delivered the second Lord Alexander of Weedon Lecture. In it he revisited the awkward tension which exists between the “notion of supremacy of the democratically elected legislature and the rule of law”. While the topic approached is one of controversy, the learned Master of the Rolls adopted a position which is essentially orthodox – namely that Parliament remains supreme despite membership of the European Union, the existence of the European Court of Human Rights at Strasbourg and the Human Rights Act, 1998 (HRA). To describe Lord Neuberger’s position as orthodox is not intended to be a criticism. His suspicion of judicial supremacy is welcome and equally agreeable is his statement against judicial passivism. However, two problems emerge: firstly, the contention that Parliament remains supreme is difficult to sustain once it is subjected to anything beyond the most formal level of analysis; secondly, and more importantly, by returning to the orthodox Diceyean perspective he risks stifling potentially significant constitutional innovation contained within the HRA. This article will argue that the orthodox position advanced by Lord Neuberger needs to be set aside and a position equally respectful of the democratic legitimacy of Parliament, but more conscious of the role of the courts in contentious areas, should be adopted.

The Maher Arar Story: Infographic

June 1, 2011

The following is an infographic on the extraordinary rendition of Canadian citizen Maher Arar. It was created by JESS3 ™   –  a creative interactive agency in collaboration with Amnesty International  in celebration of Amnesty’s 50th anniversary, which passed over the weekend, and details the appalling conditions that Arar faced in a Syrian prison after being detained by U.S. authorities.

Here’s the infographic, which was released under a Creative Commons license, so you should feel free to share it however you please:

This is just one of five infographics  released yesterday with Amnesty. You can view the others here:

H/T: Chris Cassidy, J.D. at JESS3 ™   –  a creative interactive agency

Province of Ontario to scrap secret G20 law

April 28, 2011

I wrote a series of posts about the G8/G2o Summit and the Public Works Protection Act last year:

UPDATE: Tall Fences Make For Good Sheep [And Some Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing]: The G8/G20 Police State Edition

James Morton on “Public Works Protection Act valid-#G20”: A Reply

“Don’t Fence Me In”: The G20 PWPA Regulation Applied Only Inside the Security Fence

The Toronto Star reports today:

Ontario plans to scrap a “troubling” World War II-era law blamed for arrests, confusion and alleged civil rights abuses in policing the G20 summit last June, the Star has learned.

Community Safety and Corrections Minister Jim Bradley will announce the move Thursday after former attorney general and chief justice Roy McMurtry delivers his long-awaited report on the flawed 1939 Public Works Protection Act, a top government source said.

The broad arrest powers creates “potential for abuse (that is) beyond troubling,” McMurtry wrote in his 54-page effort, a copy of which was obtained by the Star.

He compared such legislation to a “loaded weapon” for authorities to use at their whim, and noted the public works law was initially passed to protect public works like hydroelectric plants at Niagara Falls from Nazi sabotage.

“The PWPA raises issues regarding the liberty and security of the person in providing for warrantless searches and stopping for identification,” he added, noting police or private guards do not have to justify their actions on citizens, who face fines of up to $500 and two months in jail for disobeying.

“A vague law can lead to inconsistent and arbitrary enforcement … In my view, the PWPA has been used for purposes beyond its intent.”

A copy of the REPORT OF THE REVIEW OF THE PUBLIC WORKS PROTECTION ACT by The Honourable R. Roy McMurtry, O.C., O.Ont., Q.C. dated April 2011 is available here.

It was a privilege to be a contributing member of the Ontario Bar Association’s Working Group which prepared the Submission to the Honourable R. Roy McMurtry’s Review of the Public Works Protection Act , submitted December 23, 2010 .

Chief Justice McMurtry agreed with the OBA’s position concerning lack of notice regarding O. Reg. 233/10 and its effects prior to and during the G20, noting at p. 47 of the Report:

“In its consultations with me, the OBA similarly stated that the existing nature of court security is necessary and is generally “well tolerated.” At the same time, however, it submits that the security regime should not be “shoehorned” into the PWPA regime and that it would be preferable to provide a legislative framework tailored for the specific security requirements. While the PWPA has been relied upon as support for the exercise of powers by the police in providing court security, the OBA submits that the PWPA’s “single security scheme” which declares something a “public work” is an “awkward, blunt instrument in a world where more specialized tools are necessary.” When warrantless searches are being done on a routine basis, it is advisable to have specific legislation providing peace officers with such power.”

My Podcast Interview with Charon QC: Libel Tourism, Free Speech, Social Media and Anonymity

March 12, 2011

Many thanks to Mike Semple Piggot (a.k.a. Charon QC) for today’s podcast interview where we discuss legal topics of shared interest, including a comparison of the Canadian and English Legal systems – Libel tourism – Freedom of Speech – Social Media and internet anonymity. You can listen to the podcast at: Lawcast 180: Antonin Pribetic on Libel tourism, Freedom of Speech and social media

Thanks also to Cassons For and  David Phillips & Partners Solicitors for sponsoring the podcast.

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